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1995 Firebird 3.4L V6
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 95' 3.4L . Starts fine if it's been sitting for a day. Drives great. But, when I come to a stop, especially if I'm using my turn signal the power drains right down and uses the battery. But in neutral power goes back up. I figure I've got a bad ground somewhere but no clue how to find it. I know nothing about electrical, don't even know how to use a multimeter. I can diagnose and change parts no problem. But I can't figure the electrical out. I upgraded from a 105 amp alternator to a 220 because I thought it was that, new battery, and I put in all new battery cables and nothing has helped. Any ideas?
 

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1995 Firebird 3.4L V6
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have a 95' 3.4L . Starts fine if it's been sitting for a day. Drives great. But, when I come to a stop, especially if I'm using my turn signal the power drains right down and uses the battery. But in neutral power goes back up. I figure I've got a bad ground somewhere but no clue how to find it. I know nothing about electrical, don't even know how to use a multimeter. I can diagnose and change parts no problem. But I can't figure the electrical out. I upgraded from a 105 amp alternator to a 220 because I thought it was that, new battery, and I put in all new battery cables and nothing has helped. Any ideas?
[Edit] No check engine lights or anything come on.I may need a new starter but would that cause a power drain like that? And only while stopped? If I leave it to run in part it sits steadily between 14.3 and 14.5 volts
 

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1993 6-spd T/A - 1996 C4
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You must learn to read a multi-meter if you have any hopes of keeping the car on the road with your hands and not your wallet. We (member GaryDoug) provide the Factory Service Manuals in PDF format free of charge. The FSM has diagnostic flow-charts for every code the computer can throw at you. Almost all of the flow-charts involve probing a wire for voltage and/or resistance. If you can read a multi-meter, use the Index section of a book, and follow simple directions, you're 90% of the way to resolving any issue you encounter. The rest is simply Labor.

Factory Service Manuals: MediaFire

Problem doesn't happen in Park or Neutral? ...but in Drive only? Is that correct? What about Reverse and the gears below drive?

Regardless, at this point, It sounds like maybe a short at the shifter. Neutral Safety Switch? Normally I'd say have the components tested, "new" doesn't mean "good" anymore, but it sounds like the new components were an attempt to resolve this same issue. Probably should still have them tested just for grins.

If the problem only manifests when you're "In Gear" (not N or P) In my mind that points squarely at the switch on the shifter that prevents the engine from "starting" if it's in gear. In P and N, that switch is not active. Now, I don't know squat about automatics, so don't take my words as knowledge or experience. ...just me using common sense and basic knowledge. I do not know what circuit that switch sits on or how much current it connects or draws.

Out of curiosity, what does sitting overnight have to do with anything.

...if the starter were at fault, the drain would be constant and extremely high.

Disconnect Positive side of battery and use the volt-meter to bridge between battery and cable. Look at the current draw. If there is no draw until you put it in gear, that really points to where I'm thinking, or maybe a component in/on the transmission if it's the 4l60e (e for electronic). If you have current draw in Park and Neutral, the problem is in another circuit, start pulling (and replacing) fuses one by one until the load drops off. That circuit will be the one with the short. Once you know which circuit, the FSM will get you through the rest.
 

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1995 Firebird 3.4L V6
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You must learn to read a multi-meter if you have any hopes of keeping the car on the road with your hands and not your wallet. We (member GaryDoug) provide the Factory Service Manuals in PDF format free of charge. The FSM has diagnostic flow-charts for every code the computer can throw at you. Almost all of the flow-charts involve probing a wire for voltage and/or resistance. If you can read a multi-meter, use the Index section of a book, and follow simple directions, you're 90% of the way to resolving any issue you encounter. The rest is simply Labor.

Factory Service Manuals: MediaFire

Problem doesn't happen in Park or Neutral? ...but in Drive only? Is that correct? What about Reverse and the gears below drive?

Regardless, at this point, It sounds like maybe a short at the shifter. Neutral Safety Switch? Normally I'd say have the components tested, "new" doesn't mean "good" anymore, but it sounds like the new components were an attempt to resolve this same issue. Probably should still have them tested just for grins.

If the problem only manifests when you're "In Gear" (not N or P) In my mind that points squarely at the switch on the shifter that prevents the engine from "starting" if it's in gear. In P and N, that switch is not active. Now, I don't know squat about automatics, so don't take my words as knowledge or experience. ...just me using common sense and basic knowledge. I do not know what circuit that switch sits on or how much current it connects or draws.

Out of curiosity, what does sitting overnight have to do with anything.

...if the starter were at fault, the drain would be constant and extremely high.

Disconnect Positive side of battery and use the volt-meter to bridge between battery and cable. Look at the current draw. If there is no draw until you put it in gear, that really points to where I'm thinking, or maybe a component in/on the transmission if it's the 4l60e (e for electronic). If you have current draw in Park and Neutral, the problem is in another circuit, start pulling (and replacing) fuses one by one until the load drops off. That circuit will be the one with the short. Once you know which circuit, the FSM will get you through the rest.
I'll be honest. A lot of that went over my head but I understand enough to at least have some new options. I really appreciate your time. Thank you.
 

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1995 Firebird 3.4L V6
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It starts in mortal and shifts fine. If it sits overnight, it starts right up. If I've been driving around and park and then go back to start. It has a hard time starting. Power is fine untill I've been driving for a bit, and then everyone I have to stop at a light, there power stains unless it's in neutral and even then when I use my turn signal it starts to drain. I'm fairly certain I'm using this to a mechanic so he can at least tell me that "this is the problem" and then I can fix it myself and learn something. This power drain issue is driving me insane.
 

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1995 Firebird 3.4L V6
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And the cat starts fine in mortal and reverse with no custom sitting there. It's just a drop when I start moving in reverse, and then a drop after driving a bit and stopping at idle. Everything works fine until I've been driving for a bit and all of the sudden I've got to start putting it in neutral at stops. No reverse lights come on when I get the brakes. Everything works electrically it's just this darn drain. I'm going to spend the day learning my multimeter. Thanks for your help. Seriously, it's progress and I try and focus on the positive.
 

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1995 Firebird 3.4L V6
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also I'm just out of the hospital and my medication is really making me feel drunk so I'm sorry for the typos and all of that. I just really want to fix my car
 
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